When it comes to cooking chicken on the grill, this is the only recipe you need. Big Has tells us about his dad’s classic recipe
20 free range, skin on chicken thighs bone in
2 tablespoons Turkish chilli paste (biber salçasi)
150ml sunflower oil
8 cloves smashed garlic
Juice of 2 lemons
2 heaped tablespoons good quality fresh pul biber
• Butterfly the chicken thighs, leaving the bone in but cutting the meat so that it’s all one flat piece, you can get your butcher to do this. The skin on the chicken is very important to build flavour and create a gentle smoke. Keeping the bone in stops the meat drying and gives you another level of flavour. Also, it’s BBQ Sunday, don’t be scared to get your hands and face dirty.
• In a mug mix the oil, chilli paste, lemon juice, and pul biber. It won’t mix fully and will look split. Pour the marinade over the chicken, with BBQ Sunday we don’t normally marinate for long. I normally light the barbecue before marinating the meat, this is enough time for flavour to penetrate. The key is to massage the oil mix into the chicken for a good 15-20 mins. The mix will start to thicken and emulsify.
• Season the chicken heavily with Maldon SKIN SIDE UP getting a good spread, don’t be scared, once the chicken is on the grill you’ll lose a good 10% of that salt just to gravity. Stick chicken on the barbecue skin side down, you should hear the fat searing once it goes down, but nothing violent, chicken thighs are more forgiving than breasts but if you burn your skin now, it’s basically game over. If the fire is too aggressive, spread the coals; I always have a hot side and a resting side of my grill,
it just gives you more control. You want a good gentle heat, unlike the Americans the smokey stokey flavour isn’t from burning logs, it’s from the fat dripping on to the coals that gives you little clouds of flavour.
• Cook the chicken thighs low and slow for about 15-20 minutes depending on size. We normally just serve meat with bread, and meat bread is a thing from GOD! l Flash pittas, lavash or pide just bringing them up to temp, stick the warm bread flat into a tray, REST YOUR CHICKEN ON IT! Also any left over bread will make a bad boy sandwich the next day. We normally eat thighs with a basic salad, hummus and meat bread.
This article was originally published in Pit issue 05